Back Pain

One of the common reasons for absence from work and for seeking medical treatment is back pain. It can be very uncomfortable. Back pain can be caused by medical conditions, activity, and injury. People of any age can be affected by it and for different reasons. In old age, the chances of developing lower back pain increase due to degenerative disk disease and previous occupation.

Lower back pain may be related to the skin around the lumbar area, abdominal and pelvic internal organs, lower back muscles, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, disks between the vertebrae, the bony lumbar spine. Pain in the upper back may be due to spine inflammation, disorders of the aorta, tumours in the chest. The human back consists of a complex structure of muscles, ligaments, tendons, disks, and bones that support the body and enable movement.

The spine segments are cushioned with disks, and problems with any of these components can lead to back pain. The cause of back pain remains unclear in some cases.  The leading causes of back pain include injuries, fracture or fall, damaged disks, muscle tension, muscle spasms, and strained muscles or ligaments. The strain can be caused due to making an abrupt, awkward movement, lifting something too heavy, lifting something improperly.

The structural problem includes ruptured and bulging disks, sciatica, arthritis, Unusual curvature of the spine, osteoporosis, kidney problem. Disks cushion each vertebra in the spine, and pressure never increases if the disk ruptures, resulting in back pain. A bulging disk can lead to more pressure on a nerve. Through the buttock and down the back of the leg, a sharp and shooting pain travels. This may occur when a herniated or bulging disk presses on a nerve or when a muscle pushes specifically on the sciatic nerve.

Osteoarthritis can cause problems with the lower back, the joints in the hips, and other areas in the body. In an unusual way, if the spine curves, back pain can occur. Kidney stones or infections can cause back pain. While using a computer, adopting a hunched sitting position can cause back problems.  Daily activities like twisting can also cause back pain, sneezing, coughing, overstretching, bending awkwardly or for long periods, pushing, pulling, lifting, or carrying something, standing or sitting for long periods, straining the neck forward, driving for lengthy periods. Some medical conditions can also be caused by back pain like Cauda equina syndrome, Cancer of the Spine, Infection of the Spine, Sleep Disorders, Shingles, Pelvic inflammatory disease, kidney or bladder infection.

The main symptom of back pain is an ache in the back that can occur anywhere and sometimes in the legs and buttocks. Depending on the nerves affected, some back issues can cause pain in other parts of the body. The pain often goes away without treatment. But if unexplained weight loss, fever, inflammation or swelling in the back, persistent back pain, pain down the legs, pain that reaches below the knees, difficulty urinating, faecal incontinence, numbness around the genitals, anus, buttocks, then should consult a doctor.